(pic taken when everything was green a long time ago...)
in a house filled with maasai sticks, knives, pangas, catapaults, bows and arrows, guns and every other weapon imaginable, and beautiful brave boys who i love more than my heart can bear, i decided it was time to dedicate a little post to the girlie wirlies of the house, of which there are two (vero and eliza excluded). i grew up in a house of women. my two sisters and i and my dear mother. when i first "Became Pregnant" (how on earth did that happen? certainly not immaculately...?) i automatically assumed it would of course, be a girl. so imagine my shock and surprise when the first boy arrived. i mean, how do you clean "it"? so by the time the second boy arrived (don't think you'll be rushing out to buy tutus and ballet shoes, i was told by the doctor when he perused the scan of a boy who was apparently much larger than the first), i was resigned (and delighted, of course) to the fact that i would be the feisty mother of boys. so when i "Became Pregnant" for the third time, i automatically assumed it would be another little boy called, possibly Tom, or something suitably short and sweet like it. and along came The Girlie Wirlie....Gabriella Lara Rosa Texiera Doria. A Big Fat Pink Girl, unostensibly and unforgettably deposited on my chest, new, with her little wings curled up neatly between her shoulder blades, who immediately loved to eat, who regarded us all completely solemnly for the first five months, poker faced. no matter what we did...where's the baby. boo. peekaboo. tickling. splashing. hopping about like mental people, dangerously contorting ourselves into impossible positions. she remained throughout our bizarre and desperate antics, solemn.
she eventually blessed us with an infectious laugh in jomo kenyatta airport when her elder brother was doing yet another rendition of Where's The Baby? BOO! and took us all by surprise. laughter, like water bubbling from the spring of the world, burst out into a hot gloomy afternoon! she hasn't stopped since. now anything and everything can make her laugh.
as a mother, jomo kenyatta airport has oddly enough, (i mean of all the gin joints..?) played a major role in parenting yard sticks. before The Girlie Wirlie arrived, before The First Laugh Incident, i was on my back from lamu, with two tow head boys in tow (hah) en route to lusaka. of course, there was a delay of hours. it was just before christmas. being the sensible natural earth mother i am, naturally, i perused the book shop and found, to my delight, a book filled with excerpts from all the great painting masters yet at the same time, with a christmas theme. i thought, aha, i can introduce my boys to the idea of christmas and what it's all about using these beautiful images. the boys were only three and one at the time and not prone to the drone of long stories or print. this book hadn't any words only vivid rich pictures. because we lived in the bush, at the time, in luangwa valley, they hadn't been cursed by television (oh hang on. someone had a copy of those dastardly telly tubbies i think, but that was it) and i am quite certain they had never been to or heard of church, god or jesus. their reality consisted of cake stealing baboons, elephants wandering through the garden, nyau dancers, long hot afternoons at the pool waiting for the clients to leave on game drives so we could hoover up the rest of the cake for tea, pam and her paintings, miranda in her uma thurmann phase, adrian and sandy's baby stalking leopard and being dressed up like mini michelin men in the dead of a summer evening so they wouldn't get malaria.
so there we sat, me serenely explaining the pictures. i noticed the crowd around me noticing me.... smugly reading the thought bubbles above their heads:
oh look at those beautiful children with that lovely sensible earth mother, occupying their time and blah blah and my halo became large and eye piercingly bright. god. almost unbearable. i mean, i was earning mega brownie points! there were nuns in the crowd too. i was on a roll.
i explained about the Star of David and pointed out the shepherds in a beautiful botticelli excerpt. the next painting was the stable scene....and i was saying and that's jospeh and mary and oh look, there's baby jesus....! and first born looked up at me, all of three, his angelic curly blond hair framing large chocolate innocent brown eyes and said in a loud coherent questioning voice:
oh. jesus fucking christ?
like it was his middle name.
well well well. exposed. finished. i think he had only ever heard either his father or me saying this at times of exasperation, which, at the time, were numerous. obviously.
anyway. i digress. the next time i sat there was with The Girlie Wirlie when first born made her laugh. finally. she has already been into a church, a record for the family. she talks about god, mary, jesus and his brother mohammed. oh and of course there are all my buddahs, laughing and travelling rotundly next to mary on the fire place.
while the boys have been blatting things with bows and arrows this week, we have been at home together. playing piano, making chocolate cake and licking the bowl, having foot wrestling matches (which she wins), ludo, which i win, and reading Green Eggs and Ham, impressing me beyond belief. i love how she colours in angels and draws flying dolphins with smiley faces, how she loves the cats and wraps them up, how she lets the horses lick sugar from her hands...i love the way she dresses - in sparkly caftans and ribbons and satin slippers from Real Persian Princesses (thanks tira) while at the same time single handedly dismantling a chicken carcass with a primate dexterity. i love it how she thinks chicken pox are called chicken pops because they "look like a popped chicken"...apparently. for those of us in the know. i love it how she sings her own songs about golden fish and butterflies flying away to their friends. i love how she is a little magpie, making little junk collections which are to her, more valuable than the crown jewels. how she says princesses have such a hard time. i love how she can dance, how she loves music and knows where middle c is...how she wore her cat suit to the coffee lodge for lunch and the boys were too embarrassed to walk next to us....i love how she adores books and stories and is indelibly attached to every single toy on her sparkly indian bed...
i love how she fiercely loves chocolate as much as i do...a worrying fact, come to think it. i shall have to be more cunning from now on. how she said at lunch (which was healthy salad and avocado) oh mummy, lets run away to mohammeds and i will say mohammed, mimi taka chocolate. (mohammed, apart from being a holy sacred figure for many, is also the man who owns space oil, a petrol station down the road, with a little shop which sells the freshest snicker bars and m & m's in the region.)
i love how she is my little shadow, constantly keeping me in check, reading my mind, teasing me. how she thinks she wants to be with me forever....
i hate it how my words can crush her so easily....
i love my Girlie Wirlie, irrevocably, unconditionally - a love like no other.
and chocolates of course.
bisous bisous bisous X X X Girlie Wirlie Ones...X j.
oh and PS: can you tell it's school hols? second post in two days...utterly prolific....(or bored...?)
PPS: PEOPLE, IT HAS JUST STARTED TO RAIN...POUR WITH RAIN AND THUNDER AND LIGHTENING!!!!!
adios and jubilantly over and out....!!!